CPPCC member promotes breastfeeding

Updated: 2012-03-09 14:49


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More Chinese mothers should breastfeed their babies for the benefit of both the children and the nation as a whole, proposed a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

"Only 28 percent of Chinese newborn babies get exclusive breastfeeding, and one-third of Chinese children have never tasted breast milk," said Yang Lan, a TV hostess nicknamed China's Oprah Winfrey, according to the state news agency Xinhua.

Breastfeeding "isn't simply an issue of personal choice but of national public policy. It may affect the physical competence of a nation," Yang added.

According to the World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund, exclusive breastfeeding should be made available to babies for the first six months of their life, and other foods should then complement breastfeeding for up to two years or more. Breastfeeding gives children lifetime benefits, and formula may do potential harm.

Yang proposed more flexible work hours and the establishment of private breastfeeding areas in the workplace to facilitate working new mothers to engage in breastfeeding.

Latest figures show that the breastfeeding rate of Chinese mothers was around 67 percent in 2008, while almost 90 percent of Korean mothers breastfed, and nearly half of newborn babies in Korea were breastfed exclusively in 2009.

The growth of formula sales in China tops the world as official statistics show that Chinese mainland imported 324,000 tons of formula in the first seven months of 2011.